by Jay O'Toole
The Lord doesn't always speak in an audible voice, but often in nudges, moving the heart.
|Prompt: In the first few verses of Matthew chapter 5, this is where we find the Beatitudes. What does Matthew 5:3-4 mean to you?
"3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
The Lord honors honesty from the heart.
Sometimes a friend may ask, "How are you doing?" If we respond, "I'm okay," that may be the socially-appropriate response, but it may not be the truth.
When the Lord asks us such a question, it is important to remember, that He made us, He is omniscient, and He can see through every bit of fluff, that we can create for a response.
For the Lord to ask the question, "How are you doing...(Really?)" The "really" may or may not be stated, but it is ALWAYS understood with respect to Him. The Lord never asks us, "How are you doing?" in order to find out anything. He already knows how we are doing. The Lord asks each of us, "How are you doing?" in order to give each of us the opportunity to pause, to process, and to respond in a way, that helps each of our own hearts to know how we are each doing.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." My own paraphrase of this verse is "Greatly honored is everybody, who is feeling poorly to the very core of his or her being, admitting it (to the Lord) without hedging. Their reward for their honesty will be to dwell in the Kingdom of Heaven." This verse is very similar to I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." No one gets to live in Heaven with unconfessed sin. Everyone, who confesses (agrees with the Lord about) their sins receives forgiveness from the Lord, regarding that sin.
Even when we are not involved in gross sin, but we want to gloss over how we are feeling at any given moment, the dishonesty about our feelings is arguably sin in itself because we are lying, that we feel better than we, actually, do. This becomes a sin, that needs confession in order to be forgiven. (I John 1:9)
When the Lord asks any one of us, "How are you doing?" 'tis much better to open our hearts, saying, "Lord, I've sinned, even in a small thing. Lord, I don't feel good about this part of my life. I am spiritually not who I want to be. Will You please forgive me, help me, and guide me to where I need to be going?"
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.". This verse in continued confession (agreement) with the Lord about, who we, actually, are. Again, here is my paraphrase of this verse. "Greatly honored is everyone, who is feeling a significant loss in some area of life. In processing this significant loss, this individual receives the highest level of comfort from the One, Who understands every form of loss."
Death = separation
Mourning = processing the separation, which is the death of something in life (or the end)
Mourning is always the processing of some significant loss (aka a death) in life (or at its end.)
The Blessing comes from allowing the processing to flow.
Those, who do not mourn, are consistently cursed to live a depressed life, since the mind may be able to deny, that a significant loss has occurred, but the spirit has no such ability. The loss will be lived in some way in the life of the one, who has lost something or someone, who is significant to that individual.
"Tis better to willingly process, experience, give into grief and agree with the Lord about this significant loss in life, since He is the Only One, Who can help us to process and to get beyond the debilitating elements of this grief. The grief will always exist as a part of the history of the one, who has experienced the loss, but grief, that has been grieved in the Presence of the Lord, and with his aid, can become hopeful grief, that is filled with joy, rather than remaining caustic grief, that causes the individual to pine away in the "living death" of depression until that sad soul is finally dead absolutely.
Honesty with the Lord results in the Blessedness of His SHALOM. (Hebrews 4:9)
May the Lord Jesus help us to process our grief in the blessedness of honesty as He draws us to the Joy of His lasting Shalom.
by Jay O'Toole
on March 1st, 2021